It’s not time to start paying attention to Sen. Bernie Sanders as a serious candidate for the 2016 Democratic nomination for president – it’s past time.
Democrat supporters of Hillary Clinton often make the argument that Bernie Sanders is “un-electable” due to his far-left stances on a number of issues, and that, should he be elected, he is “too extreme” to bridge the partisan divide in Congress and get real legislation passed. These Democrats fail to understand that the Sanders campaign is not a typical “reach across the aisle and compromise” campaign. It’s not a carefully groomed, micro-managed political machine like Former Sec. Clinton; it’s an unshaven, working class political revolution. Its root is in the issues, and how those issues affect the vast majority of America – the middle class and impoverished citizens. The Sanders campaign is about empowering the majority of America to stand up and take the Government back from the pockets of a few billionaires.
“All over this country, we have a lot of bright, decent, good people, and they’re saying, ‘You know what? The situation is hopeless. You can’t beat the Koch brothers, you can’t beat the billionaires, you can’t win – I’m giving up.’ That is exactly what they want us to believe, and I beg of you, do not enter that world of despair. We can win this fight if we stand together.” – Bernie Sanders
Over the course of Sanders’ lengthy political career, he has stood by a consistent set of principles. He’s cosponsored the FAMILY Act to guarantee every employee 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave, as well as the Healthy Families Act, guaranteeing every employee 7 days of sick leave per year.
Sanders opposed virtually every permanent trade agreement that would send American jobs overseas and has introduced legislation to fix our broken infrastructure. He’s worked to raise the minimum wage and advocates for a living wage.
Sanders introduced the Democracy is for People constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United Supreme Court case and get big money out of politics. He’s continuously advocated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and led the effort against the Keystone XL pipeline. He has worked to protect and defend the rights of women and minorities over the past 60 years.
Despite opponents pressing that Sanders is an out-of-touch candidate, he brings a fresh change of pace to the table, focusing on fixing our domestic issues that have been long ignored.
Yet, with all of these profoundly progressive ideals, why do Democrats cast his candidacy aside? Why is it necessary for me to write an op-ed explaining that Sanders is a serious and legitimate candidate? The answer: Inevitability. Hillary Clinton has been running for the presidency for almost 10 years now. We know her and are familiar with her – but should that fact effectively coronate Hillary as the Democratic nominee?
Sanders may not be the middle-ground candidate that Hillary Clinton is, but he is the presidential candidate that we need, and millions of people are starting to realize that fact. His message of combating income inequality and fighting for the middle class has motivated thousands of individuals across the country to organize on his behalf, and hundreds of thousands to contribute to his campaign. Do not resign yourself to only paying attention to a candidate because they seem to give us the best chance of beating the other party. Stand firm to your values. Pay attention and don’t underestimate Bernie Sanders.
“When millions of people stand up and fight… they win.” – Bernie Sanders
On July 29 at 7 PM, there will be an initial organizing event for citizens of Norfolk and the Hampton Roads cities to meet up and focus their efforts to show the region that Bernie Sanders is a candidate to pay attention to. This meeting will be held in the Chesapeake, Portsmouth, and VA Beach rooms of Webb Center on the campus of Old Dominion University. Metered parking is available in Garages A & E. Learn more about the event here. Connect with the event on Facebook here.